Hello, and welcome back to “Gracie Meets…”! Are you tech savvy? Well, many teenagers are these days because of the new technologies we create every year. In the age where everything is on the internet, businesses need to have websites, so they hire web developers to make professional websites for them. I’ve invited Mr. Keith Solomon on to the show to tell us more about this line of work!
Cover Art: Kyleigh Kinsey. Instagram: @ato._.noodle
Gracie Solomon 00:11
Hello, and welcome back to Gracie Meets… Are you tech savvy? A lot of teens like us are because of all the new technology we’re thinking of every year. The tech industry is growing, which means more businesses are making professional websites to promote their product or service. Most companies hire people called web developers. These are the people who build and code websites. I’ve invited Mr. Keith Solomon, the web developer who designed my Gracie Meets… website. onto the show today to tell us more about web development. Tell the listeners a little bit about yourself.
Keith Solomon 00:43
I build websites a lot of what I do involves taking designs that are basically just static images in Photoshop and cutting them up and coding them into HTML and CSS and whatever else is needed to make it an actual usable website. It gets more technical than that, of course, but that’s the basics of it.
Gracie Solomon 01:11
What does the growth potential for this job look like?
Keith Solomon 01:15
Well, it’s not gonna get any smaller that’s for sure. As far as growth, I don’t see the growth slowing down really at all because it’s only gonna become more of a commonplace thing is more people go to, you know, living their entire lives online, so to speak. Everything, if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist or a lot. So, yeah, the growth is limitless, really.
Gracie Solomon 01:45
What kind of changes do you think are on the horizon for the future growth of being a web developer?
Keith Solomon 01:52
I well, as much as I hate to say it, I think you’re gonna see the computer side of it kind of go away. It’s just going to become more mobile only, or tablet only or, you know, you’re not going to be sitting at a keyboard or, you know, at a desk or any of that kind of thing. When you access any particular website, it’s all going to be done on your phone or on a tablet, or whatever device comes next. In your glasses or, you know, directly into your brain or something crazy like that.
Gracie Solomon 02:27
So I know you do freelance work for this. Does that mean that you can work your own hours in your own house? Or do you go to an office?
Keith Solomon 02:37
My office is in the basement of my house. My commute I like to say I have the world’s shortest commute, it’s literally 10 seconds downstairs. That is kind of a good thing and a bad thing, because some days I just never leave my office so to speak, but I do tend to keep normal-ish hours that I’m in the office, available to fix problems or do whatever needs to be done simply because if I don’t, I will sit at my keyboard for 18 hours. And, you know, before I realized that, you know, everybody else is in bed and I’m the only one awake.
Gracie Solomon 03:16
So what does a typical day for you look like since you have your own hours and stuff?
Keith Solomon 03:21
Well, it depends on if I have an active project, if I have, if I have an active project, pretty much I have, you know, my coffee and you know, check my email and do that kind of thing. And then I come down and I log into my computer and I fire up my text editor and my browsers and do whatever needs to be done that day. Typically, I don’t have like, Okay, I have a block of eight hours that I know I’m going to be working typically. I’ll work for a couple hours and then I’ll take a break and get up and walk away mainly because I can, but mainly, so that I just don’t get to the point where I’m so bogged down that I can’t see straight and I’m losing what I’m doing and I just can’t concentrate anymore. So it’s a little bit of laziness, I’ll admit. But it’s also just, you can’t just do this and stare at code for eight hours, and hope to accomplish anything major. There have been days where I have done that, and at the end of it, it’s just like you’re just so brain dead. All you want to do is stare at nothing because the thought of watching TV it’s another screen and that’s the last thing you want in front of your face,
Gracie Solomon 04:45
oh, the choice of being a freelancer you have basically your own hours.
Keith Solomon 04:51
That, there is that it was good after our son was born because you know, I could pretty much just saying You know what, I’m not gonna be able to get anything done today because she needs me. And we didn’t have to worry about daycare or babysitters, or any of that kind of thing, because I wasn’t there.
Gracie Solomon 05:12
If you could start all over would you change careers? If so why?
Keith Solomon 05:19
It depends on the day. Some days, it’s like, I don’t want to do this anymore. But for the most part, no, I don’t think I would, I’ve done. I’ve done the hardware side of technology too. And of the two, I much prefer software because at the end of the day, if something’s not working, you can basically just throw that file away and start over and you really haven’t lost anything. Whereas with hardware, if you get a bad part, then yeah, it’s just you replace that part. But then you have to wait for that new part to show up if it’s not something you can just go out and buy. But no, given the chance to start over, I don’t think I would I think I would just, I would not take the detour into the hardware side that I just do all this kind of stuff.
Gracie Solomon 06:13
How could a high schooler become someone like you?
Keith Solomon 06:17
It’s actually not that hard these days. So when I started in the early 90s, it was a lot harder. You really had to know that this is what you wanted to do. But now it’s, there’s so many resources available that are just free. And you can start with nothing except whatever computer you happen to have in front of you really. You don’t need to have a server you don’t need to have anything other than the ability to edit text files. It’s fairly easy to get into and it kind of gives you It gives you a lot of leeway as far as do you want to stay doing the website? Or do you want to get into application development? Do you want to get into back end development? There’s a lot of ways you can go in pretty much. There’s no barriers to entry like there used to be. So I think it would be really easy for somebody to just decide, oh, this is what I want to do. And just step into it.
Gracie Solomon 07:26
Yeah, like now everyone is doing school on computers or doing something online. And I feel like now there’s things like Skillshare, where you can learn how to make bread or to make a website or do anything. Like it’s just easy.
Keith Solomon 07:48
Yeah, like I said, when I started doing this and the early 90s, the world was completely different. And it was not nearly as easy to get started, because there were no, there were no easy tutorials or anything, you pretty much just had to, you know, you paid a little bit to get the basics and then you just kind of trial and error your way through to figure out how to do the other things. And it was it was nothing compared to what it is today.
Gracie Solomon 08:26
Well, speaking of technology, how has new technologies changed the way that you’ve worked in web development?
Keith Solomon 08:35
Really, for what I do, the technology changes don’t really affect it. Because at the end of the day, with the exception of mobile, mobile, mobile, I hate developing for mobile because everybody does it a little differently. If you don’t know exactly how a particular mobile platform works. You just kind of have to make guesses and wait for somebody to say, Oh, well, this doesn’t work this way. Um, so I have a lot of like old phones sitting around and people think I’m a packrat. And to a certain extent I am. But most of these phones I have around just strictly for testing purposes. That’s really the only technological change that’s really affected what I do. Because at the end of the day, all I’m doing is writing code in a text editor, and then looking at what the browser shows me. Browsers on the desktop are solved at this point. There’s no there’s no changes there that make any real difference for what I do, like I said, when it comes to mobile, that’s where the headaches come from.
Gracie Solomon 09:55
Why would a teen want to think about this job for the future?
Keith Solomon 10:00
If, you know they decide that building for the web is what they want to do, then that would be the biggest thing. Because I mean, it’s not Yeah, you can just say, Oh, well, you know, maybe I’ll try this. And that’s fine. But while it’s easy to get into there are there certain hurdles that you’re not going to want to tackle if you’re just doing it as a hobby. So you really have to know that this is what you want to dedicate yourself towards. But like I said earlier, it’s kind of a stepping stone to other things. Because a lot of what you learn developing for the front end can be applied to developing for the backend of say, an application that runs on the phone first, as far as why they would want to it’s a fairly easy job. It’s not it doesn’t take a lot of learning to get into it. So it’s not like you got to say, Oh, well as if I want to do this, I got to spend X number of years in school after high school, or any of that kind of thing. And these days, a lot of web development firms, they don’t even want people with degrees because they don’t really teach you in school, what you need to do this job. They teach you kind of everything, but what you’re actually going to be doing. And it’s just you’re learning all of this stuff. And yes, it’s good to know. But it’s not going to help you once you get to that job and you’re sitting behind the keyboard every day doing this job.
Gracie Solomon 11:37
Thanks for letting me interview you, I have definitely learned a lot about being a web developer.
Keith Solomon 11:44
From webpage builds for major organizations to smaller websites like the Gracie Meets podcast. Web developers are tasked with making sure companies in online image is presented in the most professional way possible. Companies rely on these developers to get their digital first impression to the masses. No normal person could dig through tens of thousands of lines of code to find one misplaced piece of data, but then again, show me a normal teenager. Thanks for listening. Thanks for tuning in. If you’d like Gracie Meets…, subscribe so you can listen every time a new episode is dropped, and follow Gracie Meets… on Instagram at Gracie dot Meets (@gracie.meets). Tune in next Saturday for a heartfelt interview with a mail carrier.